Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Are microbreweries sources of blight and crime in neighborhoods?

Much is being made of the exception that CM Erica Gilmore is making for microbreweries like Yazoo Brewery over at Marathon Village. However, it is not fair to judge beer sellers on the flat but on what they bring to a neighborhood. Compare Yazoo's rehabilitative effects on the auto works building (and hence, the neighborhood) to an old blighted market that sat on a corner not far from Yazoo called "Nile Market." And contrast how benign Yazoo was compared to Nile Market.  There wasn't a time I passed Nile Market that I didn't sense that there was something sketchy going on with the thugs gathered outside. I cannot say that I feel the same when passing Yazoo. Yet, opponents of regulating beer sales try to convince us that the sale of big package malt liquor to sidewalk players and wise guys is exactly the same as the sale of a bottle of Dos Perros in the tap room or the purchase of a growler to take home.

The Nile Market was closed and torn down not too long ago, and almost immediately it seemed like Salemtown's Volcano Discount Tobacco market at 7th and Garfield got an influx of rough-looking men whom I did not recognize as Salemtown regulars. It seemed like I was seeing an increase in drug-deal-looking transactions at 7th and Garfield.  I have to wonder whether ending the sale of single-serve beers in one location pushes the suspicious and the criminal element to the next single-serve location.

Frankly, the sour neighborhood attitudes toward single-serve beer vendors has been earned. They have done little to support the interests of neighbors and make their neighborhoods better places. If the owners of the market at 7th & Garfield had shown a willingness to work with us to make Salemtown a safer place to live rather than being irresponsible and apathetic to blight they cause in our community, then there might have been more hesitation about supporting Erica Gilmore's proposed ban.


  1. No type of prohibition has ever produced the results that were intended.

    Total waste of time.

    And hey, people have to score drugs somewhere. Better in front of a beer joint than a playground.

  2. I don't see this strictly as prohibition but as regulation of commerce.

    But if you want to call it prohibition, then I can tell you that for 4 weeks last year prohibition worked very well in Salemtown. We had prohibition after the store manager was shot and could not open his store. We had prohibition in December when the beer board cited the store for on site consumption. In both instances, suspicious activity went away with the beer.

    Based my neighborhood experience, what you call prohibition works.

  3. I'm curious to know where all of the patrons of your local shop went during those down times. I'm guessing that you don't know, and I'm sure you don't care. And I am positive that those customers did not begin a sort of abstinence in that time frame.


  4. I'm sure that the thugs migrated to the next single serve vendor, and you're right: I don't know or care to know where the criminal element migrated next. I can't watch everyone's neighborhood, but I can watch my own. I don't care if they were abstinent or not. This mission isn't about curing someone's habit. It is about making Salemtown a safer place to live.